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Research On The “Generation Next”

The Pew Research Center released a 45-page report this week entitled: A Portrait of “Generation Next” — How Young People View Their Lives, Futures, and Politics.

Of course, while I’m assuming that Asian Americans were part of the survey (ethnic demographics are not detailed in the survey methodology), it will be interesting to see how our traditional churches can attract this next generation to hearing the Gospel. I think the growing number of Asian American church plants across the country will reveal increasingly diverse models of churches to accomodate them. Which to me, reinforces the question that we’ll be exploring for the Skypecast, are Asian American churches necessary, optional, or an unhealthy diversion?

A new Xanga blog, The Emerging Truth, makes a case for the latter, (alas, he won’t be able to make the Skypecast) abut even then, with so much at stake with the next generation, I think we really do need to be able to have a conversation on the possibilities and limitations of the next generation of Asian American churches.

So with no further ado, here are a few excerpts of note (emphasis mine):

About half of Gen Nexters say the growing number of immigrants to the U.S. strengthens the country – more than any generation. And they also lead the way in their support for gay marriage and acceptance of interracial dating.

One-in-five members of Generation Next say they have no religious affiliation or are atheist or agnostic, nearly double the proportion of young people who said that in the late 1980s. And just 4% of Gen Nexters say people in their generation view becoming more spiritual as their most important goal in life.

Asked about the life goals of those in their age group, most Gen Nexters say their
generation’s top goals are fortune and fame. Roughly eight-in-ten say people in their generation think getting rich is either the most important, or second most important, goal in their lives. About half say that becoming famous also is valued highly by fellow GenNexters.

Gen Nexters are among the least likely to attend church regularly: 32% attend at least once a week compared with 40% of those over age 25, and 16% say they never attend (compared with 12% among the older age groups).

Nearly two-thirds of Nexters (63%) believe humans and other living things evolved over time, while only 33% say all living creatures have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.

On balance the American public is evenly divided over the impact immigrants have had on the nation: 41% say immigrants today strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents, while the same number says immigrants are a burden on the country because they take away jobs, housing and health care. Gen Nexters are much less conflicted about this issue – 52% say immigrants strengthen the country, while 38% say they are more of a burden. In this regard, they are more likely than Gen Xers, or other older generations, to say that immigrants strengthen the country.


About David Park

Christian 2nd-generation Korean American; Atlanta Georgia; more details to come.

3 responses to “Research On The “Generation Next”

  1. elderj

    I could say quite a lot about emergings comments on his blog but… I won’t because I fear my comments would be uncharitable in the least. I have heard of this Pew Research Report in the context of my work. I believe that despite what many believe, subcultural identity groups will become even more prevalent and the so-called ethnic church more needed in the future than the past. It is unlikely to look or call itself ethnic however, a just be a collection of same subculture people of different ethnicities. Honestly I think it is easier for people to break the race barrier than the class barrier, and the gospel has much more to say about that.

  2. I recognized that my blog entry about the Asian American church would have it’s share of detractors. I spoke bluntly, but honestly, about my thoughts on it. Elderj (and others) I do invite comments and rebuttals, even (and especially) the uncharitable kind. Perhaps we could learn from each other.
    I agree that the trend is towards increasing numbers of subcultural identity groups and ethnic churches. However, unlike elderj, I have serious forebodings about this, and believe it will have serious negative consequences on the health and effectiveness of the local church.

  3. Josh

    from what I’ve read and experienced I would like to believe that the “church” is on its way to decay and soon to be replaced by another form, much like the early asian church and the catholic church. (Maybe that’s the emerging stuff everyone’s talking about, I’m still not sure). I do feel that the tendency is more “fellowship” than “church,” as in, people would rather meet in small groups and talk about Jesus than to meet semi-formally and listen to one person talk about Jesus.

    As for the AA church, I’ve got nothing to say about that, haha. I’m afraid I’ll just be a listener at the skypecast. looking forward to it!

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